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April 2012

Ellen DeGeneres's Sitcom Character Comes Out on "Ellen" (April 30, 1997)

Ellen_comes_outDuring the week of April 7, 1997 TIME Magazine ran its famous "Yep, I'm Gay" cover story in which comedic actress Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian.  Then three weeks later, on April 30, art imitated life as her TV character, Ellen Morgan, did the same on her ABC sitcom Ellen.  Although it was somewhat anti-climatic after the coverage earlier in the month, it still had the aura of a "Must See TV" event. 

 

Ellen_airportAlthough no puppy appeared in the epiosde, it was referred to as the "puppy episode" due to an inside joke of the show's cast.  Ellen's character comes out to a woman she was interested in (played by Laura Dern) and, befitting a sitcom, inadvertently announces it over a microphone in a waiting area at LAX (pictured).  Besides Dern, other celebrities also made cameo appearances, including Oprah, Demi Moore and k.d. lang.  The episode got a Nielsen household rating of 23.4, which was more than double Ellen's usual rating (and comparable to that season's #1 show, ER).  At the time I worked in the media department at ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding and had coordinated a "guess the rating" contest.  40 staff members participated.  The winner was announced the following day at a departmental presentation we had on the Gay & Lesbian Market.

 

Anne_ellenAfter this high-exposure month, Ellen and her partner Anne Heche, were soon seen everywhere together - replacing Harvey Fierstein as the media's favorite token gay.  The show bore a heavy burden the following season as some viewers thought it was too gay, others not gay enough, while others felt it just wasn't funny any longer.  Alas, it flamed out and was cancelled at the end of the 1997-98 season.  However, six months later the void was filled by Will & Grace, which debuted on NBC and had a very successful eight-season run.


Last Dance at The Saint (April 30, 1988)

 

Thelastparty_atthesaint

 

The Saint was the nation's (perhaps the world's) premiere gay dance club during the 1980s, and its closing party began on April 30 1988 - and continued until Monday morning, May 2.  Although I loved dance music, I was never part of the Saint crowd; however, I'd go once or twice a year.  My first time there was in June 1981, a few weeks before it closed for the summer; the last time was two weeks before the final weekend.  And it was more than just a dance floor - there were a lot of other places to explore and "experience".

 

An ex-lover of mine, Rick, went to closing weekend in two shifts.  During his second shift, he got into a bit of medical trouble because he bought some bad GHB and collapsed on the dance floor.  He woke up in the special triage unit set up at the club for these type of "situations".

 

Saint_ticket

 

Here are five songs I most fondly associate with the Saint:

  • Hills of Katmandu - This beautifully tribal song is the one I associate most with the Saint.  The club's renowned planetarium projector that rose out of the middle of the dance floor projected images of stars that swirled on the circular scrim-like ceiling above the dance floor.  To me, this effect, along with the glow from the burnt orange lighting, evinced a feeling of being out on the savannas of East Africa.   Such a gorgeous song.

Hills_of_katmandu

 

  • Your Love - This was played during my first visit to the club.  It was the group Lime's first hit.  While we danced to it, my boyfriend at the time passed out after taking a hit of poppers.
  • Dracula's Tango - A great dance song with a Halloween theme.
  • Eve of the War - This song is on par with the Hills of Katmandu in terms of its mystical/tribal vibe.  What a beautiful orchestral opening.  The only verse was, "Chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one he said - but still, they come!".  A number of years after the Saint closed I came across the 12-inch single among a pile of records someone was selling on Christopher St.  What a find! 

 

Flying_saucer

 

  • Tonight is What it Feels to be Young - From the soundtrack of the 1984 rock movie Streets of Fire.

 

The "not-a-care-in-the-world" vibe of the club was brought home to me during a visit in October 1983.  It was a week after a truck bomb ripped apart a US Marine barrack in Lebanon, killing more than 250 servicemen.  As I pranced on the dance floor at 3AM, I thought of all the serious things going on in the world and how, here on this fabulous dance floor I was insulated from all of it. 

 

Thesaint3

 


Sondheim's "Company" Opens on Broadway (April 26, 1970)

Playbill_for_companyStephen Sondheim's musical Company had its Broadway opening on April 26, 1970.  The story revolves around Bobby, a swinging bachelor in his mid-30s, and the three married couples who are his close friends.  The wives are concerned about him still playing the field while the husbands are somewhat envious of his freedom.  I often wondered if "Bobby Baby" might be gay.  In fact, there is a scene in which one of the husbands lightly propositions him - but Bobby demurs.  (In 2013 there were reports that Sondheim was involved in a major rewrite of the show in which Bobby was gay.)  At the time the show was considered groundbreaking because it was the first to explore "modern" themes.  It ran a little more than a-year-and-a-half and closed on New Year's Day 1972.

 

Scene_from_companyNowadays if a show opens in late April it qualifies for that year's Tony's in June, but 40+ years ago the Tony Awards were held in March or April.  In fact, the ceremony in 1970 was the week before Company opened (how peculiar for a show to open a week after the Tony's!)  Therefore, Company wasn't in the running for a Tony until the following but, happily, it was hardly forgotten as it received 14 nominations - and won six awards for Best Musical; Direction; Book; Lyrics; Score (the first of Sondheim's six Best Score Tonys); and Scenic Design.  However, Michael Bennett didn't win for Choreography nor did the six actors who were nominated.   

 

Company_cast_abumAlthough I didn't see this original production I've seen three others.  The first was a benefit performance for an actors fund held at a theater in Times Square in the autumn of 1991.  Then in October 2003 I saw an NYU student production at the university's newly opened Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.  And last summer I saw a filmed concert version that had been staged at Lincoln Center a few months earlier.  Additionally, I rented the excellent documentary about the recording of the original cast LP (most memorable perhaps for the scenes of the late Elaine Stritch's excruciating multiple attempts at The Ladies Who Lunch).

 

During the rare occasion when a boyfriend became annoyed by something I did I'd bring up the song Being Alive and point out its message that only when one is inconvenienced by the compromises a relationship requires do you truly experience living.  This didn't necessarily win them over, but I was pleased with my cleverness.    

 

 


Salivating Over Major League Baseball's Sexiest Players

Javier baez espn magazine

 

With perhaps the exception of soccer, no other professional sports league has sexier players than Major League Baseball.  NFL players are largely obese, over-muscled and brain addled from concussions (quarterbacks are the exception); NBA players are freakishly tall and look silly in their baggy shorts; and the NHL teams are full of players with missing teeth and "ice rage" issues.  Granted, there's not a whole lot of running, jumping, or tackling involved in baseball.  Still, the players look great standing around posing in their snug stretch pants that hug their groin, thighs, biceps and calves.  And while they stand at home plate or out in the field waiting for next pitch it gives us fans time to ogle them as they play with their bat, adjust their cup, or stretch teasingly.  Isn't this what fantasy baseball is all about?  (Pictured to the right is the Cubs' Javier Baez.)

 

Out of the 750 or so players on active rosters of Major League Baseball's 30 teams, here, in no particular order, are eighteen of the players I most enjoy seeing appear my TV screen (vital statistics as of May 2019):

 

JOSE ALTUVE/Houston Astros

> 29 years old/5'6"/165 lbs.

Like we do with a puppy, everyone wants to scoop this little guy up in their arms.  At just 5'6" his teammates tower over him but his energetic play has endeared him to Astros fans.  And he's an All-Star caliber player, winning the American League batting title in 2014, 2016 and 2017.  After the Astros won the World Series in 2017 he became even more famous when a scowl on his face was captured as he stood behind the president during a visit to the White House.

 

Leslie jones and jose altuve

 

Jose.altuve

 Jose altuve behind trump

 

GLEYBER TORRES/New York Yankees

> 22 years old/6'1"/200 lbs.

The youngest player in this revue, Torres reminds me of a taller version of Jose Altuve - and they're both from Venezuela.

 

Gleyber torres_yankees
 Gleyber_torres_laughing

 

KEVIN KIERMAIER/Tampa Bay Rays

> 29 years old/6'1"/2105 lbs.

He has eyes like jewels, and that's all I've got to say.

 

Kevin_kiermaier
 Kevin kiermaier tampa bay

 

GIANCARLO STANTON/New York Yankees

> 29 years old/6'6"/245 lbs.

This strapping superstar's sex appeal increased tenfold when, at the start of the 2013 season, he chose to be called by his given first name, Giancarlo.  And then his ogle-worthiness exploded that summer when he appeared in ESPN Magazine's fifth annual "Body Issue".  Then in the fall of 2014 his team signed him to a 13-year-contract worth $325 million.  Unfortunately, he's become more known for being injured than for his output.

 

Giancarlo_stanton4

 Giancarlo_stanton_espn

 

LANCE MCCULLERS, JR./ Houston Astros

> 25 years old/6'2"/205 lbs. 

Pitcher for the Houston Astros.  In Nov. 2018 he underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the 2019 season.

 

Lance mccullers astros piticher

 

Lancemccullers

 

YOAN MONCADA/ Chicago White Sox

> 24 years old/6'2"/205 lbs. 

Born in Cuba, he came to the US in 2014.

 

Yoan Moncado GettyImages-832119446

 Yoan moncada

 

DANSBY SWANSON/ Atlanta Braves

> 25 years old/ 6'1"/ 190 lbs.

One of the best names in baseball, Swanson's name brings to mind a character from The Great Gatsby.

 

Dansby+swanson

 

Dansby_Swanson

 

Dansby with catchers mitt on head

 

IAN DESMOND/Colorado Rockies

> 33 years old/6'3"/220 lbs.

Sexy in a brooding way, Desmond is one of those players who's never quite played to his full potential.

 

Ian desmond_colorado rockies
 Ian desmond

 

RANDAL GRICHUK/Toronto Blue Jays

> 27 years old/6'2"/213 lbs.

Somewhat reminds me of David Wright of the Mets.

 

Randal grichuk st louis cardinals 

 Randal grichuk with tiger

 

ENRIQUE (KIKI) HERNANDEZ/LA DODGERS

> 27 years old/5'11"/192 lbs.

Hernandez is in the adorable puppy-dog phase of his career, i.e., full of smiles and energy.  His doppelganger is singer Michael Buble.

 

Kiki hernandez_la dodgers

Kiki hernandez pinterest_hugging

 

WHIT MERRIFIELD/KC Royals

> 30 years old/6'/195 lbs.

With a struggling team like the Royals it's players like Merrifield that give fans a reason to come out to the ballpark.

 

Whit merrifield

 Whit merrifield kc royals

 

ALBERT PUJOLS/LA Angels

> 39 years old/6'3"/235 lbs.

A slab of 100% pure Dominican beef with a mighty bat.  Three MVP Awards and two World Series rings got him a 10-year, $254 million contract from his new team, the Angels.  He didn't really produce but in 2017 he did hit his 600th HR.  Ay papi indeed!

 

Albert-pujols-baseball-players

 

Pujols2

 

SERGIO ROMO/Tampa Bay

> 36 years old/5'11"/185 lbs.

Romo may look like he stepped out of an Al Qaeda hideout in Afghanistan but he's actually a fun-loving Mexican American.  As a relief pitcher for the Giants he collected three World Series rings in 2010, 2012 and 2014. 

 

Sergio.romo.black.beard  


Sergio.romo.espn.mag

 

ERIC HOSMER/San Diego Padres

> 29 years old/6'4"/225 lbs.

In my mind he resembles a cross between the Yankees Jacoby Ellsbury and actor Ben Affleck.  He first came to my attention during the 2014 World Series when his team, the KC Royals, played the Giants.  The following season the Royals returned to the World Series and beat the Mets. 

 

Eric.hosmer.kcroyals

  Eric.hosmer.royals  

 

MATT KEMP/Cincinnati Reds

> 34 years old/6'4"/225 lbs.

Kemp is in serious competition with Giancarlo Stanton for title of alpha stud.  Compared to the other players on this list, he easily had the most enticing pics to consider, making for a deliciously agonizing decision. This former Dodger's little black book may be as filled as that of Derek Jeter (e.g. Rihanna, Eva Longoria)  - and he's 10 years Jeter's junior.

 

Matt_kemp_dodgers

 Matt_kemp_soaked

 

NICK MARKAKIS/Atlanta Braves

> 35 years old/6'1"/210 lbs. 

One of the few players of Greek heritage, I'd love to see him in a toga debating with Socrates at the Acropolis as much as kneeling in the on-deck circle at Camden Yards.

 

Nick markakis atlanta braves

  Nick_markakis2

 

RYAN BRAUN/Milwaukee Brewers

> 35 years old/6'2"/205 lbs. 

One of baseball's few Jewish ballplayers, his nickname is the "Hebrew Hammer".  He was one of the players whose stellar MVP-caliber career was blackened due to his lying about his use of PE drugs, but he's managed to persevere and maintain somewhat of a fan base.

 

Ryan_braun6  

 Ryan braun baseball card

Ryan braun showing off abs
 

 

JOSE BAUTISTA/(Not signed, Free Agent)

> 38 years old/6'/205 lbs.

If you didn't know his name you might think Bautista is of Israeli heritage, but like Albert Pujols he's from the Dominican Republic.  He made his name with the Toronto Blue Jays as a home run hitter.

 

Jose_bautista 

 Jose_bautista9

 

SEAN RODRIGUEZ/Philadelphia Phillies

> 34 years old/6'/200 lbs.

With a career batting average of only .227 he won't be getting inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but this Irish/Cuban hottie is batting 1.000 in the eye-candy department.  When he was with Tampa Bay he had the look of a young pup, but after he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates he grew his hair long like Samson.

 

Sean.rodriguez.baseballplayer

 Sean rodriguez 2016

 

And here are some others who appeared in earlier editions of this post who have since retired or are on the long-term disabled list ...

 

  • DAVID WRIGHT/NY Mets (36 years old/6'0") - He's like a little puppy dog, i.e., always smiling and eager to please.  His appeal is enhanced further by the fact that he's an All Star caliber player.  Not surprisingly, he was the Mets' "golden" boy, but now he's been on the disabled list for the past two seasons and may never return to the "active" roster.

 

David_wright

 David_wright5

 

  • JOE MAUER (36 y.o./6'5").  For me, Joe's All-American good looks bring to mind the character Joe Boyd, the ball player in the movie, and Broadway musical, Damn Yankees.  In addition to playing baseball Mauer was also a TV pitchman for Head and Shoulders shampoo.  He spent his entire 15-year career with the Minnesota Twins; he retired after the 2018 season.

 

Joe_mauer2

 

Joe mauer headnshoulders

 

Joe mauer 2018
Mauer in 2018

 

 

  • ICHIRO SUZUKI (45 y.o./5'11") - Somewhat like Toyota, Ichiro is the Japanese import who has had the greatest success in the US, becoming one of the greatest hitters of all time.  He ended his career back in Seattle, the team he made his name with at the beginning of the century before going to the Yankees and then Miami.

 

Sexy_ichiro_suzuki

Ichiro_suzuki

 

  • BRAD AUSMUS, former manager of the Tigers from 2014-17 merits a place on this honor roll.  Now 50 years old, he gave most of the players a run for their money in the beefcake department.  Before being named manager of the Tigers he managed Israel's national baseball team.  Besides a body, he's also has a degree from Dartmouth.

 

Bradausmus2

 

Bradausmus.tigers

 

  • JACOBY ELLSBURY (35 years old/6'1") - The half-Navajo Ellsbury is one of the few ball players, as last year's World Series could attest, whose close cropped beard added to his sex appeal.  However, now that he's with the Yankees there will be no more facial hair.

 

Jacoby_ellsbury

 Jacoby_ellsbury2

 

  • CARLOS BELTRAN (42 years old/6'1") - First, I've always had a weakness for the name Carlos.  Second, I think he may have the sexiest mouth of any ballplayer.  And although he's not of Cuban heritage, he has a vague resemblance to a young Desi Arnaz.

 

Carlos_beltran6

 Carlos_beltran_shirtless

 

  • CARLOS PENA/Last played in 2014 - Like Albert Pujols, Pena is big-batted Dominican known for hitting home runs.  However, as his career winds down, Pena's strikeouts have become his defining feature.  But he'd never have any trouble getting to first base with me.

 

Carlos_pena2

 Carlos_pena

 

  • ANDY PETTITTE/Last played in 2013 - Along with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, Pettitte was a big favorite among Yankees fans.  And even as his hair grayed he maintained his boyish enthusiasm.

 

Andy.pettitte.yankees

 

Andy.pettitte.smiling  

 

  • JOHNNY DAMON/Last played in 2012 - Whether sporting the caveman look when he played with the Red Sox or clean cut after he was traded to the Yankees, Damon is adorable.  He and a few of his Red Sox teammates appeared on an episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy back in 2004.  Without his beard and long hair Damon bears a striking resemblance to Republican senator Marco Rubio (they're just a few years apart in age and both live in Florida).

 

Johnny.damon.redsox

 

Johnny.damon.yankees

 

  • GRADY SIZEMORE/Last played in 2015. - Was definitely was a cool drink of water.  After spending two years mostly on the disabled list, he was traded from the backwater of Cleveland to the Red Sox, but never got a chance to play and his career as an active player ended

 

Grady_sizemore5

Grady_sizemore6

 

  • ANGEL PAGAN/Last played in 2016.  Although he wasn't considered a superstar in terms of his baseball skills (but he was still an excellent player), he's in the elite class of sexy players.  And Angel is a perfect name.

 

Angel_pagan5

 Angel_pagan4

 

  • CJ WILSON/last played, as an LA Angel, in 2015 - A pitcher who looked like he came from the same gene pool as the Indians' Grady Sizemore and Milwaukee's Ryan Braun.

 

Cj_wilson

Cj_wilson3

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Grace Kelly Becomes Princess Grace (April 19, 1956)

ROYAL-FAMILY-OF-MONACO-RE-001 Twenty-five years before the wedding of Charles and Diana another fairytale wedding had the world aflutter as 26-year-old Oscar-winning movie actress Grace Kelly married 32-year-old Prince Rainier III of Monaco.  (Three months after their nuptials the last of her eleven movies, High Society, was released.)

 

NYPost_PrincessGrace Unlike Diana's tumultuous life, Princess Grace's with Prince Rainier was seemingly a happier one.  However, like Diana, Princess Grace died young (age 52) in a car accident - but under different circumstances.  Princess Grace was behind the wheel when she suffered a stroke and the car plunged down an embankment.  Her death came a year after Diana's marriage and Princess Diana represented England at the funeral. 

 

 

 

 


Demonstration for Gay Rights Held at White House for First Time (April 17, 1965)

Mattachine_society_picketing_whitehouseOn the afternoon of April 17, 1965 a small group of dedicated and brave gay men and lesbians demonstrated in front of the White House for the first time to protest the unjust treatment of homosexuals by the federal government.  The demonstrators were from the DC branch of the gay rights group called the Mattachine Society.  They held picket signs with slogans such as "First Class Citizenship for Homosexuals" and "Homosexuals Are U.S. Citizens Too".   There was a debate among the participants on how to dress and it was decided that suits and ties for men and blouses, skirts and heels for women were most appropriate in order to show onlookers that homosexuals looked just like everyone else.  (The demonstration was depicted in the 1995 movie Stonewall.)

 

What a debt of gratitude we owe these brave, pioneering individuals who went out in broad daylight not knowing what kind of recepetion they might encounter. (It turns out they were largely ignored.)  Today equally brave LGBT ndividuals are taking their lives in their hands in openly hostile countries such as Uganda, Russia and Jamaica - as well as in "red" states like Oklahoma and Kansas.

 

 

 

A complete report on this demonstration can be found on the website of the Rainbow History Project.


Newsweek Cover Story Explains AIDS to the General Public (April 11, 1983)

Two years after the first puzzling cases of failing immune systems were reported among gay men in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, Newsweek ran a cover story (cover date of April 18, 1983) about the spreading plague titled "Epidemic: The Mysterious and Deadly Disease Called AIDS May Be The Public Health Threat of the Century.  How Did It Start?  Can It Be Stopped?"

 

Newsweek_AIDScoverstory_april1983

 

The article reported that although the ravages of AIDS on the body were well documented, medical researchers had yet to determine how the infectious agent was introduced into the body.  As long as this mystery remained unsolved it would be impossible to arrive at a medical solution.  And until that time arrived AIDS would largely continue to be a death sentence for those who were infected.  Here is the story's opening paragraph:

 

Since it came into public view in 1981, derisively called "The Gay Plague," AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), which ravages the body's immune system, has stricken 1,300 Americans - more than half of them in the last year. And there is no cure in sight. "In my professional career, I have never encountered a more frustrating and depressing situation," says Dr. Peter Mansell of Houston's M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute. "People who you know are likely to die ask what they can do to help themselves, and you are forced to say, more or less, 'I have no idea'." (To read the full story click here.)

 

QuarantineSince many of those who were already infected during these early years were unaware of their status they could unknowingly infect others.  Additionally, wild misconceptions about the disease were running rampant.  As a result, there was unsettling speculation over whether the federal government might (or should) take drastic measures, such as a quarantine of gay men, to prevent the illness from spreading to the general population.  (An action that was taken by Cuba.)

 

Time_Magazine_AIDS_Panic_1983Newsweek_GayAmericaA few months later TIME Magazine ran a cover story with the subhead "AIDS Panic" and later that summer Newsweek ran another cover story about AIDS, this time showing two gay men as a way to give the story a human dimension. 

 


Coming Out With the Help of the Village People

Village_people_first_albumI bought the Village People's eponymous first album without having heard any of its songs.  I did so because their medley San Francisco/Hollywood had been high on Billboard's dance chart for months so I figured it was worth taking a chance on.  I was in my junior year at Penn State and I bought the LP at the record store in State College in the spring of 1978.  (The first disco album I bought was Donna Summer's double-LP Once Upon a Time the previous summer.) 

 

The late 70's were my formative coming-out years and the songs on this album, e.g. Fire Island, Key West and San Francisco, provided me with somewhat of an education about gay life.  I'd get a frisson of excitement listening to these songs' lyrics about places I'd yet to experience.  

 

PSU_WestHallsThe dorm complex I lived in at University Park, West Halls (pictured), was where many members of the school's Nittany Lions football team lived; some players on my floor occasionally asked to borrow this LP for their parties.  Despite the fact that the Village People were embraced by gay men and their song lyrics were filled with gay double entendres, they managed to cross over to the oblivious general market, who seemed to get a kick out of the group's "camp pop".

 

Vp_in_the_navyThe first Village People song to chart was Macho Man, from their seconnd album, followed by the ubiquitous YMCA, which spent three weeks at #2 on Billboard's Hot 100 in the winter of 1979.  Their third album Go West was released in the spring of 1979 and the single In the Navy went to #3.  Rolling Stone Magazine even put them on its coverHowever, overexposure soon ensued and the group "jumped the shark" in 1980 with their embarassingly bad movie Can't Stop the Music.

 

Other Village People-inspired posts found on ZeitGAYst

The Village People Perform on American Bandstand    

The Village People Appear on the Cover of Rolling Stone

Creator of the Village People, Jacques Morali, Dies of AIDS

Glenn Hughes, Village People's "Leatherman", Dies

 

 

 

 


Ellen DeGeneres Reveals to TIME Magazine: "Yep, I'm Gay" (April 7, 1997)

Ellen_degeneres_yep_im_gay In preparation for the April 30 episode of her eponymous ABC sitcom in which her character was outed, Ellen DeGeneres herself "came out" in the pages of the April 14, 1997 issue of TIME Magazine (which hit newsstands on 4/7).  And what a lovely cover it was.  (14 years later, in ads for Cover Girl, Ellen looked as fresh as she did in 1997, thanks to the marvels of retouching).  Although TIME had a famous cover story in 1975 titled "I Am a Homosexual", in which Sgt. Leonard Matlovich talked openly about his homosexuality, the Ellen cover story was the first time an entertainer had come out in such a public fashion

 

 

After this story ran it seemed for a while that DeGeneres and her partner, actress Anne Heche, were turning up everywhere, supplanting Harvey Fierstein as the media's favorite token gays.  Then a year after TIME's cover story Entertainment Weekly ran one titled "Yep, She's Too Gay".  It reported on the backlash against Ellen's sitcom and its gay storylines.  And in 2000 Ellen and Anne ended their relationship

 

Ellen_and_anne_heche 

 

Ellen's career foundered a bit after that, but then she made a triumphant return as host of the Emmy's a few weeks after 9-11.  And six years later she hosted the Academy Awards (and a second time in 2014).  She was also the voice of the blue fish, Dory, in the high-grossing animated movie Finding Nemo.  Besides being a spokesperson for Cover Girl she also appeared in ads for American Express.  And her success extended to publishing as she wrote five books during the decade, including the best seller Love, Ellen: A Mother/Daughter Love Story.  Then another career hiccup occurred two years ago when she was a judge on American Idol and found herself uncomfortable dishing out criticism. 

 

Dory_and_nemo 

 

Since 2003 DeGeneres has had her own Daytime talk show and there was even speculation about her replacing Oprah when O retired - although Ellen's audience was a fraction of Oprah's, and her show's content much lighter.  (FYI, Ellen came out to Oprah on her show the month before TIME's cover story).  

 

Ellen_with_obama 

  

I've written posts about two other cover girls:

Suitable for Framing - Cher's Classic TIME Magazine Cover

Madonna, Good Housekeeping Magazine Cover Girl

 


First Tony Awards Handed Out (April 6, 1947)

T_artifacts_0530_pic15724 Eighteen years after the film industry handed out its first Oscars the Broadway theater community held its first Tony Awards (short for the "Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre").  The ceremony was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on the evening of April 6, 1947, which was Easter Sunday.  (The Tonys took place every April until 1964 when it moved to late May for one year and then to June every year thereafter.) 

 

For this first gathering there were two Best Actor and Best Actress awards given for Plays - but none for musicals (however, an award for Featured Actor was given).  Besides winning Tonys the four winning actors were also Oscar winners: 

 

  • Jose_ferrer_cyranodebergerac Jose Ferrer won for his role in Cyrano de Bergerac.  Three years later the play was made into a movie and he won an Oscar for the role. 
  • Fredric March won the other Best Actor Tony for Years Ago.  He'd win another Tony 10 years later for Long Day's Journey Into Night.    
  • Helen Hayes won the Tony for Happy Birthday.  She'd collect another Tony and two Oscars, a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a Grammy during her career.
  • Ingrid_bergman_joanoflorraine Known mostly as a movie actress (she won three Oscars), Ingrid Bergman won the Tony for her role in Joan of Lorraine.  The play was the basis for the 1948 movie Joan of Arc, which Bergman also starred in.  Nominated for an Oscar, she lost to Jane Wyman who won for Johnny Belinda.

 

David Wayne won Best Featured Actor in a Musical for playing the role of the leprechaun Og in Finian's Rainbow.  Elia Kazan won Best Director for All My Sons.  Interestingly, in this first year there was no award for Best Play or Best Musical.

 

115_Tony_Awards_1st_Ceremony-1947_04-06 Beginning in 1956 the show was broadcast on TV in the New York market; it wasn't picked up by a TV network until 1967 when ABC aired it.  The audience for the Tonys is only about one-fifth the size of the audience that watches the Academy Awards